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Sales Enablement Challenge Series: Sales Methodology

This is the third post in a series of guest posts from Brian Groth, Sales Enablement Manager at Xactly Corp. Learn how to overcome the challenges of implementing and upholding a productive sales process.

Every successful sales organization needs a plan for effectively selling that carries it through the entire sales process. But it can be difficult to choose a method, stick to it, and then modify it for your own organization's needs. 

What is Sales Methodology?
A sales methodology is a specific approach to selling and the group of tactics a sales rep will use during the selling process. These can be generic in nature, such as solution selling or consultative selling, but there are also many branded methods, such as CEB's Challenger Sale, Craig Elias' SHIFT, Jill Konrath's SNAP Selling, and Neil Rackham's SPIN Selling

Why is it a challenge?
While some of these methodologies might be more tactical and others more focused on the sales process, your sales methodology must have a concise and consistent approach to all stages of the sales cycle. This includes initiating a sale, getting to and through each activity needed to advance the sale of your solution/product/service, and the triggers to recognize when it's time to walk away from a deal. This means that there is an approach necessary for each activity in the sales process. For example, the Challenger Sale suggests that the sales rep teaches their prospect something, tailors their message, and takes control of the sale. This can be applied early in the sales cycle and can carry all the way through to closing a deal.  

However, selecting, training and sticking to a sales methodology requires careful implementation and attention. An executive sponsor must spearhead it, but sales enablement teams or individuals need to make it stick. With so many approaches to selling, each with related books, blogs and videos, having the sales team try new methodologies can create chaos. Carefully select one, and stick with it, while making refinements to each sales activity, sales content, and training as you go. 

What can you do about it? 
It is important for sales enablement individuals to help select a sales methodology for the sales organization. But the process can be made easier by mapping out a clear sales process first. Once the process and methodology have been set, it's up to sales enablement to train everyone on the overall process, the necessary activities, and the approach to accomplishing each activity. The final step is to create open channels for sales team feedback and questions, which will help ensure proper implementation.

Brian Groth is the Sales Enablement Manager at Xactly Corp, where he successfully created and manages Xactly's entire sales enablement program, including the sales process, tools and training.